City of Melbourne endorses new MSS

MELBOURNE City Council this week endorsed the proposed municipal strategic statement (MSS) and amendment to the Melbourne Planning Scheme. The amendment will now be submitted to Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden for his authorisation to exhibit for public consultation.

The city's original MSS was introduced in 1999 and reviewed in 2004. City of Melbourne has said that a new MSS is required to respond to changes that have occurred since that time, such as altered demographic, economic, social and environmental landscapes; new state government policies and directions; and new local strategic policies.

Future Melbourne Committee (Planning) Chair, Cr Peter Clarke, said the strategy highlighted the need for new development in areas of the city that were vacant, underutilised and requiring repair and rejuvenation, while maintaining established residential areas.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

$150m Abbotsford development approved

YARRA Council has approved a $150 million development in Victoria Street, Abbotsford at a special meeting of council last night at Richmond Town Hall. Council voted 5 to 3 in favour of the application.

Yarra Mayor Cr Jane Garrett said the Council issued a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit to the applicant, Hamton JV, for a 586-apartment development at 677-679 Victoria Street, Abbotsford (also known as the Honeywell site).

The subject land is located on the northern side of Victoria Street in Abbotsford and zoned Business 5 (B5Z), which aims to encourage the development of offices or multi-dwelling units with common access from the street. The Yarra River forms the east and north boundary of the site. The site is also the last site in the City of Yarra, with the City of Boroondara located east of the site.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Population Minister officially sworn in

THE NEWLY appointed Minister for Population, Tony Burke, was officially sworn in by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, on Wednesday

Ms Quentin Bryce wished Mr Burke well in his new role as Australia’s first population minister. He has been given the task of creating a comprehensive population strategy for Australia. Mr Burke is also the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Federal Member for Watson.

Mr Burke will consider the projected path of population growth and the challenges and opportunities associated with this growth. Accordingly, Mr Burke will develop "cross government frameworks that will be required to make the most of the opportunities, and minimise the risks, associated with population growth."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Sydney Costco development approved by NSW Government

COSTCO'S first Sydney store is expected to open next year, after the NSW Government yesterday announced it has approved Costco’s $58 million retail warehouse and office in Auburn.

The approved three-storey development includes a retail warehouse with over 13,700 square metres of gross floor area (GFA); nearly 2,000 square metres of commercial office GFA for the Costco Australian regional headquarters; and 745 car parking spaces, bicycle parking, loading docks, landscaping, and infrastructure and stormwater works. The subject land is located at 17-21 Parramatta Road, Auburn.

Costco is the fourth largest retailer in the USA and one of the largest retailers in the world, operating from approximately 554 locations. The construction of Costco's first Sydney store in Auburn follows on from the successful opening last year of Costco's first Australian store, located at Melbourne's Docklands. Costco have indicated a desire to increase their presence in Australia.

City of Melbourne to consider new MSS

MELBOURNE City Council will this week consider a new Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) as part of its review of the planning scheme. Councillors will consider the plan at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on Tuesday 13 April.

The city's original MSS was introduced as part of the planning scheme in 1999 and reviewed in 2004. The Council states that a new MSS is required due to changes that have occurred since that time. These include changed demographic, economic, social and environmental landscapes; the Victorian Government's new strategic directions including Melbourne @ 5 Million and The Victorian Transport Plan; and a number of new strategic policies relevant to the use and development as part of the Future Melbourne Community Plan (2009).

Future Melbourne Committee (Planning) Chair, Cr Peter Clarke, said "we are planning now for the development of our city over the next 20 years and the MSS demonstrates the approach we are taking to secure that vision for Melbourne. The MSS is about well-designed urban renewal, using land efficiently and effectively, about making this city a better place to live for years to come."

Cr Clarke said that while change will occur in some parts of the city, he said that substantial change will happen only in specifically targeted areas. "Other parts, like heritage-protected residential areas are expected to remain relatively stable," Cr Clarke said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

The impact of planning requirements on housing costs and development

A RECENT study has found that while development contributions and other planning related costs are high and vary greatly amongst Australian states and territories, developers are more concerned about non-financial barriers such as planning system complexity, uncertain time frames and changing requirements.

The research, released by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), was carried out by Associate Professor Nicole Gurran, Dr Kristian Ruming and Professor Bill Randolph of the AHURI UNSW-UWS and AHURI Sydney Research Centres. It explored the relationships between urban planning regulation and housing outcomes in Australia, focusing particularly on the cost impact of planning regulations for housing development.

The researchers conducted 26 case studies and over 30 interviews with developers and other industry stakeholders in 15 local areas in NSW, Queensland and Victoria and included inner, middle ring and outer metropolitan locations, plus one regional growth area.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

2009 Victorian Urban Development Program Report released

THE 2009 Urban Development Program (UDP) Annual Report has been released, detailing supply and demand for residential (broadhectare and major redevelopment projects) and industrial land across metropolitan Melbourne and the Geelong Region.

In terms of residential broadhectare land supply, the UDP identified:

  • 201,071 potential lots on residential broadhectare land across metropolitan Melbourne and the Geelong Region;
  • A potential supply of approximately 138,462 broadhectare lots in Melbourne's growth area municipalities, of which 55% (76,001 lots) is Precinct Structure Plan approved; and
  • Future broadhectare lot supply of 48,250 lots in the Geelong Region, of which 23% (11,032 lots) is currently available to allow residential development.

In its analysis of major development supply, the 2009 UDP identified 1,419 redevelopment projects yielding an estimated 106,940 dwellings to be developed in the next 10 years. This consisted of 264 projects currently under construction with an estimated yield of 21,419 dwellings and 54,689 dwellings proposed for development within the next 5 years.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

February dwelling approvals fall

FOR the second month in a row, the seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwelling units approved fell 3.3% for the month of February, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector houses approved fell 0.9% (to 9,711) following rises in the previous two months, whilst the seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector other dwellings (apartments and semi-detached housing) approved fell 10.9% (to 2,698) and has fallen for two months.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of total building approved fell 4.5% in February. The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of new residential building approved increased 0.5%, while the value of approved residential alterations and additions increased 6.2%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of non-residential building fell 13.0%.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Sydney Costco store faces powerful opposition

COSTCO'S plans for its first store in Sydney has sparked objections from Westfield, AMP and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia. The proposed $60 million store and regional headquarters, to be located on Parramatta Road, Auburn, was to be Costco's second Australian outlet following the successful opening last year of Costco's Melbourne Docklands' store.

Costco's application seeks demolition of the existing distribution warehouse on the land and construction of a new Costco Wholesale and Retail building with a total gross floor area of 16,477 square metres (consisting of 13,727 square metres of retail and 1,999 square metres of commercial office floorspace for the new Costco Australian regional headquarters. The application also seeks approval for a loading dock and 745 car parking spaces.

The Costco proposal does not fit into current planning laws and Costco is hoping to overcome this problem by defining itself as a 'bulky goods retailer' rather than a 'shop' or 'retail premises' which would not be permitted in its proposed location. The Shopping Centre Council of Australia said there is "no distinction between the goods sold at Costco or at any other 'shop' within Australia."

NSW Planning Department releases population projections

THE NSW Department of Planning released its population projections last week, revealing that strong growth is projected in many areas of New South Wales. The figures are contained in a new population projections report, produced by the Department of Planning, which covers the period from 2006 to 2036.

Regional areas with the strongest projected population growth are Queanbeyan (up 72%), Maitland (up 71%), Palerang (up 69%) and Tweed (up 59%). Other areas with strong growth included Yass Valley, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Eurobodalla, Coffs Harbour, Snowy River and Great Lakes.

The Sydney metropolitan area is projected to have a population over just over 5.5 million in 2036. The greatest projected population growth in Sydney metropolitan subregions area are the South West (increase of 113%), Sydney City (60%) and the North West (52%).

Planning Minister Tony Kelly said "it's pleasing to see some of our inland and coastal areas are expected to experience strong growth, helping the State's regional economy. Apart from regional centres, the projections also indicated strong population growth in western Sydney, central Sydney, coastal areas and areas to the north and east of Canberra."

Camberwell railway station development approved by VCAT

THE CONTROVERSIAL application for a mixed-use development of the Camberwell Station precinct has been approved by VCAT. The applicant was CSTP Pty Ltd and the responsible authority was Boroondara Council.
In November 2007, CSTP Pty Ltd, applied to the Council for a permit to construct two buildings comprising dwellings, shops and offices and an open plaza. The Council refused the application on 31 grounds and in June 2008, CSTP Pty Ltd applied to the Tribunal for a review of the Council's decision.

In July last year, VCAT issued an interim decision, stating that while the proposal "represents an acceptable 'in principle' design response to the site's physical and strategic context," a number of issues were identified including setback, station access and internal amenity. The applicant was given the opportunity to prepare amended plans. The Tribunal also stated that "the proposal strikes the correct balance between seemingly conflicting planning scheme objectives."

Whilst the Council and objectors wanted low key and low scale development around Camberwell Station, the applicant believed the site warranted much larger development and the Tribunal agreed, saying that the proposal "responds in a more balanced manner to these policy influences [planning scheme objectives] and also to the cultural and heritage significance of the site."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Minister for Population appointed; population strategy to be developed

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd recently announced he had appointed Tony Burke to take on the new role of Minister for Population. In his announcement, Mr Rudd said the first task will be to develop "Australia's first comprehensive population strategy."

"To help guide the development of policies to meet Australia's future population needs," Mr Rudd said, "I have recommended to the Governor General that she appoint the Hon Tony Burke MP to the new office of Minister for Population in the Treasury Portfolio."

Mr Burke will examine population growth and the challenges and opportunities this will create. "Australia's first Population Strategy will consider the social and economic infrastructure Australia will need to support a growing population, including the roads, housing and service delivery network," Mr Rudd said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

CLEM7 toll road opens in Brisbane

Brisbane's largest infrastructure project, the Clem Jones Tunnel (CLEM7), opened on Monday 15 March at 10pm. The 6.8 kilometre road, links Bowen Hills in the city's north to Woolloongabba in the south, and includes a 4.8 kilometre tunnel, making it the longest tunnel in Australia.

Costing $3 billion, the CLEM7 is the first toll road in Brisbane's inner city, allowing motorists to bypass 24 sets of traffic lights. The tunnel was free for the first three weeks of operation, with concessional tolls introduced on April 6 until 9 May 2010 providing a 30 per cent discount off normal tolls. The CLEM7 is currently toll-free between midnight and 5.00am until 9 May 2010. It has been reported that RiverCity Motorway may extend the concessional toll period.

Following the concessional period, normal tolls for cars will be $4.28, $6.42 for light commercial vehicles and $11.33 for heavy commercial vehicles. Motorbikes will pay $2.14. Tolls are to rise on January 1 each year, in line with Brisbane's CPI.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Queensland

Madden approves Southbank development

DAYS after the Planning Minister Justin Madden fast-tracked a $50 million, 30 storey development at Southbank, Mr Madden has announced that he has approved an amendment to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme to allow for a major mixed-use development proposed by Dheeraj & East Coast property company.

The subject site is located at 400-430 City Road, Southbank and the proposal includes three residential towers of up to 39 storeys and consisting of 1274 residential units; a fourth hotel tower with 288 rooms; retail and showroom space; and car and bicycle parking.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Williamstown site controversially rezoned residential

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden late last month announced that he has rezoned the former Port Phillip Woollen Mills site in Nelson Place, Williamstown as residential, in preparation for residential development.

An independent advisory committee will be appointed to recommend planning controls to be applied to the 2.7 hectare site and Mr Madden said the site can "provide much needed housing in a vibrant inner city location."

Mr Madden stated that the rezoning does not endorse any proposal for the site but that it was important to have controls to guide any future development. He said the decision to rezone the site provides certainty about the future for the Woollen Mills site.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Vic Govt reaches agreement with development industry: GAIC still likely

LATE last month, the Victorian Government announced it had reached agreement with the peak development industry bodies on a formula for funding infrastructure within an expanded urban growth boundary, known as the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC).

The GAIC was intended as a charge to fund for infrastructure and services in growth areas. It was to apply to land brought into the UGB from 2005 and zoned for urban development, with the purchaser of the land liable for payment of GAIC when they buy land in the growth areas at a cost of $80,000 or $95,000 per hectare. The GAIC was expected to contribute approximately 15% or $2 billion of the cost of providing infrastructure and services in the growth areas. The defeat of the GAIC in parliament by the Upper House effectively ended the government's plan for urban growth, as outlined in Melbourne @ 5 Million.

The Liberal Party stated that they supported the GAIC in principle, but that they were not prepared to accept the GAIC proposal without changes, including the timing of when the levy was payable.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Interest rates rise, again

THE RESERVE Bank of Australia (RBA) has decided to lift interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.25 per cent, effective 7 April 2010.

RBA Governor Glenn Stevens reitereated last month's statement, saying "the global economy is growing, and world GDP is expected to rise at close to trend pace in 2010 and 2011." Although Mr Stevens noted that expansion is "still hesitant in the major countries, due to the continuing legacy of the financial crisis, resulting in ongoing excess capacity."

Mr Stevens said that Australia's terms of trade are rising, with output growth over the year ahead likely to exceed last year. He said unemployment appears to have peaked and that credit for housing has been expanding at a solid pace.

"Interest rates to most borrowers nonetheless have been somewhat lower than average. The Board judges that with growth likely to be around trend and inflation close to target over the coming year, it is appropriate for interest rates to be closer to average. Today's decision is a further step in that process."

Visit the Reserve Bank of Australia website for more information <>.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Vic Govt fast-tracks $50m Southbank residential and retail development

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden last week announced that a $50 million proposed development at Southbank has been fast-tracked.

The subject land is located at 248-252 City Road, Southbank, and the proposal includes a 30-storey building including 207 residential apartment, ground level retail space, a gym, and bicycle and car parking.

Mr Madden said development needs to reflect changing needs and lifestyles and that Melbourne needs to provide a range of housing choices. "Southbank was established as an inner-city neighbourhood with a mix of high-density residential and commercial development," he said.

The proposal has been called in from Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), and if approved, construction will begin mid-2010.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Go-zones and No-go zones: Qld Premier proposes new zones

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh last week launched a proposal to create new zones to guide urban development in South East Queensland (SEQ).

Under the plan, state and local government would create the following new zones:

  • 'Go-Zones' – areas along public transport corridors for higher density development; and
  • 'No-go Zones' – established suburbs to be protected from high density development.

Premier Bligh said that the 'Go Zones' could reduce the planning timeline for new developments from years to months, whilst the 'No-go Zones' would "give communities in established suburbs certainty that their neighbourhood won't be transformed by higher density living."


  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Queensland

Draft Newman Revitalisation Plan on exhibition

THE LANDS Minister for Western Australia, Brendon Grylls, has invited Newman residents to comment on "a visionary new plan" which aims to develop the town into a major regional hub of 15,000 people.

As part of the WA Government's Royalties for Region's 'Pilbara Cities' initiative, the draft Newman Revitalisation Plan was developed by LandCorp and the Shire of East Pilbara in order to guide the town's future growth.

Mr Grylls said "the plan sets a direction for the evolution of Newman into a dynamic, diverse, attractive and liveable town that people will be proud to call home... It includes strategies on how Newman will cater for a larger permanent population, how it will encourage more business and economic diversity, and the amenities needed in the future... In particular, it seeks to deliver greater housing diversity to help overcome affordability issues and encourage fly-in/fly out workers to settle in Newman."

NSW announces metropolitan strategy review

THE NSW Department of Planning has announced that a review of Sydney's Metropolitan Strategy is underway.

The Department released a discussion paper, 'Sydney Towards 2036', as a first step in the review.  The discussion paper states that "it is crucial that the Strategy [City of Cities: A Plan for Sydney's Future (2005)] is kept up to date and relevant, responsive to new events and challenges and maintains a long term planning view."

The discussion paper highlights key challenges including jobs growth in Western Sydney, making Sydney climate change-ready, placing new homes close to services and infrastructure and revitalising our centres. Other challenges include integrating land use planning with transport and Sydney's growing population, with forecasts predicting 5.7 million people by 2031 and 6 million by 2036 in Sydney (including the Central Coast).

Property Council releases action plan for Canberra

THE PROPERTY Council of Australia has released an action plan for Canberra, saying it needs to "grow up and take the brave decisions about the city of tomorrow."

The plan, titled 'The Urgency is Now - Action Plan for Canberra's Future', was released last week and "outlines a vision for Canberra that is diverse and sustainable and counts in the eyes of the nation." Property Council ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter, said the "decisions made now will make or break this city, so the need for big ideas and action is urgent."

"The Property Council's fear is that a continued ad hoc approach to planning, design and construction will see a diminished Federal Government presence and investment in Canberra, a larger carbon footprint and declining community services due to lack of growth... Growth is not an environmental threat as long as we grow intelligently. We need a genuine long-term vision for our city and we need it now," Ms Carter said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: ACT

Lands Minister announces shortlist for Knutsford Project

A FORMER industrial site near Fremantle city centre is set to be transformed, with the WA Government announcing that it has shortlisted three development partners.

Lands Minister Brendon Grylls announced the shortlist of three preferred development partners for the Knutsford urban renewal project. He said that the shortlisted development partners "were selected from a very competitive field of some of the nation's foremost designers, in partnership with some of Australia's premier developers."

The shortlist consists of:

  • Knutsford Consortium (Georgiou Group / Fini Group / Mainpart Holdings);
  • Match Group; and
  • Australand.

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